It is true."I do dread the second book. I am told the second, not the first, is your career. I have seen at least two agents I plan on querying allude to this on twitter."This has itched my brain all morning.
Janet, you asked for topics. Is this one you could address? If it's true, my question is what can authors do to help improve book two (the dreaded sophomore novel)?
Maybe not your career but your contract with that publisher. Two book deals are the norm, but publishers for all their big ass talk, really do NOT want to lose money. If the two books don't sell well enough, that's game, set, match.
The better book one does, the more wiggle room you have on book #2.
The first thing is to know you do NOT have a year to write it.
You might have six months.
Your book is DUE to the editor in 12 months, but that means you need the finished first (you think done) draft in six. Then I look at it, edit it (or as some writers describe it: shitalloverit), send it back to you, lather rinse repeat. That's 12 weeks easy.
At the same time, you're ramping up for promo on Book #1 and if you think you'll write in your spare time while doing promo, well, ok, but you're delusional. Not that writers ever believe me till they drag their sorry carcass home from Pitstop, Pennsylvania after a full day on the road to speak to an audience of negative one.
So, having as much of that second book written as possible as early as possible is the first best thing to do.
The second is to PROMOTE EARLY.
Don't try to start tweeting or Facebooking or Instagramming six weeks before pub date.
That's just useless jaw flapping.
Even before you query, or get an agent or a book deal, start making friends.
By making friends I mean following people on Twitter and engaging with them; same with Instagram.
Invest in Dana Kaye's book about building your brand; name recognition in newer, fancier duds.
All this seems pointless right now, without an agent, without a deal.
It's saving for a sunny day.